"And the God of all grace...will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10
We enjoy being fully back into the swing of things after the Christmas break and are thankful that God has continued to bless the teachers with good health and energy during this nasty flu season. God's spirit of strength and steadfastness is evident in the classroom as we watch the children growing and learning by leaps and bounds. They are really amazing! Here are some of the things we have been working on:
LITERACY: We continue to see great strides in this area as children are solidifying their letter and sound recognition, starting to read and write independently and enjoying a lot of fun fairy tales in class. We finished our alphabet snacks with Zoo Animal Crackers and have been spending time learning about our important vowels, A-E-I-O-U. Some of the students are now working on long vowel rules, which can be a tricky transition, so we are reminding them to be patient. This takes time! We are thoroughly enjoying more fairy tales, spending time with Goldilocks and the Three Bears right now. The fractured versions of this classic story are proving to be very entertaining! So far, the favorite has been Somebody and the Three Blairs. Rhyming and opposites are the literacy concepts we are tackling next. These can be difficult concepts for children to grasp, and we don't expect mastery at this level, but it is a good introduction as a foundation for later skills. For some of our students who are learning English as a second language, parents can help support these ideas at home in the child's first language. Once they understand the concepts of opposites and rhymes in their first language, they are more likely to transfer that knowledge to their emerging English vocabulary.
MATH: Measuring and graphing is our newest area of work in the classroom. We are using non-standard measurements and collecting data that can be presented in a graph. So far we have measured the children with wooden blocks, allowing the students to predict their heights, compare their data and build a graph together. The children have also been providing ideas for a type of food that we can do a taste-test on to create another graph...pie seems to be the favorite suggestion so far. Our Kindergarten group is well into our gold bead material in the classroom, working diligently on grasping the concept of place value and, for some, multiple-digit addition.
SCIENCE: Our study of invertebrates now moves into the marine world of cnidarians (jelly fish and corals) and poriferans (sea sponges). How about those new vocabulary words?!?! We are also enjoying learning about how animals survive in the winter, especially the fascinating phenomenon of hibernation. Some of the children might remember what a "true hibernator" is. These animals, such as hedgehogs, stay in a deep sleep through the winter, with their breathing and heart rates slowing to the point they almost appear dead. Other animals, such as bears, go into a light sleep and wake occasionally for a little bit of food and then go back to sleep. The Kindergarten children and soon-to-be Kindergarten children enjoyed a day studying winter, and we had fun wearing "blubber gloves" to see how animals can stay warm in the cold.
MUSIC: We are beginning our study of the orchestra's instrument families as we enjoy listening to Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens. We will also be learning about musical concepts such as tempo and volume during this time. Soon we will be working on our songs for the spring performance with our joyful Little Lambs!
SOCIAL STUDIES: As we continue our study of the continents, the Kindergarten children are preparing to create their beautiful world maps. This is always a popular rite-of-passage project for our oldest students! As a group we are also studying safety and good choices, beginning with fire safety. Soon we will talk about stranger safety before moving into a look at good choices in relation to screen time. Your child may have asked you to test your smoke detectors at home and might be able to teach you our smoke detector song (sung to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?"):
If I hear the smoke detector, I get low. Then I go!
Get out of the house, get out of the house.
Now I'm safe! Now I'm safe!
THINGS WE THINK:
“This is a real job!” These are the words we overheard one day when a child started raking leaves with his friend. Word spread quickly that there was a real job to do, and soon children were lined up to get a turn with the rakes. This perfectly demonstrates the value of meaningful work for children. This was a job with tangible results, a job that helped clean up the playground, and a job that fostered the children’s sense of pride and ownership in their school. Unfortunately, work has quite a negative connotation in our world today, as it has somehow turned into the thing that stops us from being able to do what we truly love, but this is a dangerous idea to give our children. Good, hard work is valuable and meaningful, in a home, in a business, in a classroom and in the community, and our children need to see that. The age group we serve at Little Lambs is perfectly suited to enjoying meaningful work; 3-6 year olds LOVE to have jobs that are helpful and useful. This is the perfect time, then, to instill a desire to work hard and to enjoy the results of a job well done. This is the perfect time to teach children that, no matter the job, hard work is valuable and worth their effort. This is the perfect time for children to learn that the type of job you do doesn’t define you, but rather the joy and energy you put into doing it well should give you a sense of worthiness and value. Taken further, this plants the seed that a child’s “worthiness” comes from the fact that God created him with a plan…regardless of exactly what that plan is. Whether our children grow up to be teachers, doctors, painters, janitors, truck drivers or farmers, they are worthy just by the nature of their creation, and they can take pride and joy in their hard work and their “real jobs.” Ecclesiastes 5: 18-20 instructs us that “…it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him – for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” It is our prayer that our students would grow to be happy in their work and to be occupied with gladness of heart!